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A local pastor, who returned from the Gulf Coast earlier this month, says even though it's been nearly two years since Hurricane Katrina hit, families in Mississippi and Louisiana still need help. "Every time I go down there, I come back feeling I have to go back," said Shelley Lyksett, who serves the Ellsworth, Hartland and Diamond Bluff United Methodist churches. She was among a group of 19 volunteers who returned May 6 from Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss. This was her third trip to the area.
An Ellsworth man who lost his sight as the result of a traffic accident has been awarded a largely symbolic $6.25 million judgment against the man who caused the collision in December 2005. After Randy J. Truckey, 41, Amery, failed to answer a civil complaint and didn't appear for an April 26 hearing, St. Croix County Circuit Judge Eric Lundell ordered him to pay $6,250,000 plus costs to Gerald Gutting, N4914 Hwy. 63, Ellsworth. "(Truckey) has simply not responded," said Gutting's attorney, Steve Goff of River Falls.
A special Pierce County Board meeting set for Monday to discuss the Trumpeter Development lawsuit was canceled because a mediation session was not successful, a board spokesman said. The suit involves a county-imposed delay for parts of a 700-acre residential development near Prescott. The parties participated in a mediation session May 2. Corporation Counsel Brad Lawrence said the May 7 special meeting was scheduled in the event mediation resulted in anything that needed County Board attention, but it didn't.
In an annual daytime meeting that lasted a little over an hour Tuesday, Pierce County Board members voted to increase a series of sheriff's department fees. At the recommendation of Sheriff Nancy Hove, the board raised the rate charged to work-release prisoners in the county jail from $13 to $14.25 a day. Hove said the new rate is still one of the lowest around. Law Enforcement Committee Chairman John Kucinski, who also works as a public defender, said the fees can't be too high because many of the inmates have jobs that pay only $7 or $8 an hour. The charge is for meals, laundry and housi
The owner of the former Cats Meow Dogs Bark Animal Welfare Society was fined $741 and half the public health nuisance charges against her were dropped last week. Jen Kamish, Newport, Minn., agreed to pay a fine of $148.20 for each of five charges. The other five citations were dismissed by Pierce County Circuit Judge Robert Wing. Kamish took over the shelter, located on Hwy. 65 just outside River Falls, in early 2006 after the Humane Society of Pierce-St.
Twenty-seven acres of mostly wooded land along the Rush River in the Town of Martell will soon be public land. John and Mary Heisler are donating 24 acres of woods to Pierce County, and the county has negotiated the purchase of 3.5 acres of mostly open land to improve access to the donated land. The $14,000 to buy the access land from the Heislers will come from the County Park Development Fund. The county's park committee is working on a plan for the property, but the preliminary proposal is to create trails to the Rush River and develop a small parking lot. Access will be off Hwy. 63.
For years, Pierce County has not been able to keep up with the needs of its disabled residents and frail elderly. Now it's asking the state to contract with a private organization to provide long-term care services in this region. The county board voted last week to not join in the creation of a regional managed-care organization.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Department is proposing raising the fees it charges for paper service and reallocating the fees it collects for foreclosure procedures. "All we did is we upped our fees to match everybody around us," said Sheriff Nancy Hove. She said the department has been collecting about $35,000 a year to serve legal notices on people involved in civil or divorce proceedings.
A failure to communicate cost Pierce County a $13,000 penalty when a certificate of deposit was cashed in early to cover end-of-year bills, according to some sources. But the man who was county treasurer at the time disagrees. In the end, he said, an investment experiment he initially questioned made money for the county despite the penalty. "We were headed for pretty thin ice, so I had to break a CD," said former treasurer Lee Skog Friday.
Critics questioned whether Pierce County needs two year-round workers --- each costing the county about $60,000 a year --- to manage what amounts to a one-park program. But last week the finance and personnel committee voted to refill the fulltime assistant park supervisor position. Park Superintendent Scott Schoepp said that, along with managing 752-acre Nugget Lake County Park, he supervises the county's snowmobile trails, a recently-acquired county forest and now the county shooting range. The parks department has a 2007 budget of $237,000 and anticipates collecting about $77,000 in fees